CSUN appoints new vice provost
Dr. Cynthia Z. Rawitch, vice president of undergraduate studies, will be taking over the vice provost position at CSUN.
Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president of academic affairs along with a search and screening committee appointed Rawitch to the position, which she will begin in August.
Rawitch said she is happy to start her new position.
“I never in a million years thought I would be involved in central university administration,” Rawitch said.
Hellenbrand said this new appointment came about for two reasons.
“The assistant provost (Jerry Leudders) is moving out of the office to help with the Valley Performing Arts Center and that creates a gap,” Hellenbrand said.
He said there is a lot of work that flows through the provost’s office.
“We really need a couple people staffing it to make it work well,” Hellenbrand said.
As vice provost, Rawitch would help Hellenbrand in the daily workings of the campus regarding education, he said.
Rawitch said she came to CSUN as “an experiment” to teach one journalism class per semester.
“I fell in love with it and left my job at the Associated Press and started teaching part time,” Rawitch said.
Rawitch was a reporter at the time and did not consider working in a position that was not related to journalism.
“Really, what I thought I would do would be a journalism faculty member and maybe someday chair,” she said. “I also didn’t know enough about a university to even think about how it worked and what was involved in administration,” Rawitch added.
Hellenbrand said Rawitch has begun some work in the provost’s office.
“For training purposes, it starts right now,” Hellenbrand said.
“She’s going to be overseeing academic programming,” Hellenbrand said. “I deal will the academic budget, academic personnel and academic policy.”
He added that with the appointment of Rawitch many projects in the office will now be supervised to their completion.
“There are two things we try to do here,” Hellenbrand said. “We try to do project management – making sure things get done. And we try to do project anticipation looking ahead at the things we must do.”
Hellenbrand added the project implementation and supervision would go to Rawitch to make sure the office is “doing things as we commit to do them.”
Rawitch is still managing Undergraduate Studies while learning her new duties in the provost’s office. She is also acting as the liaison between the university and the Western Association of School Colleges (WASC) for CSUN re-accreditation.
“(It is) a re-examination of how you’re doing your job and a validation by an independent body,” Rawitch said.
She said CSUN has been working toward this for the last four years and a final visit from a WASC team will take place in September.
“I fully expect we will be re-accredited,” Rawitch said. “It is a lot of work done by a large number of people. There is somewhere in the range of 60 people on this campus who have been involved in this process in the last four years.”
Rawitch said she is excited to participate in campus wide affairs and take on her new role as vice provost.
“It is really about helping make it possible for the university to do its primary job which is educating the next generation of California leadership,” Rawitch said.
Mary Ann Cummins-Prager, associate vice president of Student Access and Support Services in Student Affairs, was the search and screen committee chair and is a colleague of Rawitch.
Prager said Rawitch is “immensely qualified” for the new position.
“(She) always has the students’ best interests in mind,” Prager said. “She is able to take difficult tasks and successfully accomplish (them).
Sharon Kaplan, a CSUN alumna, worked as a copy-editor for the Daily Sundial when Rawitch was its publisher.
Kaplan said she enjoyed Rawitch’s “candor” while working with her at the newspaper.
“She was a tell-it-like-it-is kind of professor,” Kaplan said in an email interview. “I learned so much from her because she didn’t dumb anything down.”
Kaplan said it is Rawitch’s dedication to CSUN that would benefit the campus to have her as vice provost.
“She’s exceptional. She’s knowledgeable and she has a deep connection to CSUN,” Kaplan said. “As a publisher, as a professor and as a staff member, her institutional knowledge of the campus is invaluable.”